The drawbacks of learning on the job

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In benchwork, learning from your mistakes is an important, essential, and helpful part of the tuition process. There are so many variables to control in the average molecular biology experiment that those with anything less than the greenest of green fingers will probably need several iterations to get publication-quality data. Ironically though, it’s often best when things don’t go right the first time.

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As Time Goes By

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Historical accounts of the early days of molecular biology are always galvanising. The protagonists, bold in spirit and cheerful in manner, set off like Dick Whittington in search of their own (conceptual) fortune. With a trusty fellowship under their arm and a skip in their step, these intrepid postdocs jauntily unite with a chosen mentor before ultimately establishing their own independent laboratories. It always sounds thrilling, and beguilingly easy. Continue reading